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NCAA takes a step toward autonomy

The NCAA Board of Directors approved by a 16-2 the governance reform proposal set forth by its steering committee that would grant the 65 schools in the "Power Conferences" (ACC, Big-12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) to approve new benefits to its student athletes, including monetary stipends.

The board created 11 different "areas of autonomy" in which the five richest conferences will be able to self-regulate. Those do not include areas like academic requirements.

“We are delighted that after years of debate, a consensus has emerged that the time has come for a modern approach to governance that recognizes the need to give more flexibility to those conferences pre-pared to do more for student-athletes and, at the same time, preserves the collegiate model which works so well for the vast majority of Pac-12 student-athletes,” said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in a statement. “This is a great day for the 7,000 current student-athletes in the Pac-12 and for generations of future student-athletes who will benefit from the educational opportunities and life lessons made possible by college athletics.”

Dr. Elson S. Floyd, President of Washington State University and Chair of the Pac-12 CEO Group, said, “This new model will allow our conference, which has always coupled academic and athletic excellence, to continue to maintain those high standards while adapting to the changing needs and expectations of our student-athletes and our universities. We plan to address needs across the full range of sports, for both men and women, and reinforce something all of our university leaders emphasized earlier this year: education must come first.”

The new legislation could take effect by the 2015-16 academic year.

There will now be a 60-day comment period on the proposal. If 75 of 351 Divison I schools express disapproval of the proposal during that period then the board will reconsider the decision. If 125 universities object than the implementation of said autonomy will be suspended while the board reconsiders the proposal.

If, during that reconsideration, the board affirms its decision then all Division I schools will vote on the measure. A five-eighths majority would overturn the board's decision.


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Jacob Thorpe
Jacob Thorpe joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Washington State University athletics.

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